Christmas may be over, but there are still some holidays to celebrate before the year is over! Pretend City will host a Kwanzaa celebration throughout the beginning of the week and, once the weekend hits, it’s time to celebrate the New Year. Some other noteworthy events occurring this week include a couple of stellar art exhibits, a sushi making class and the incredible “Odysseo” show, held under the Big White Top in Irvine.

Monday, December 26
(credit: Pretend City)

(credit: Pretend City)

Festival of Kwanzaa Celebration
Pretend City
29 Hubble
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 428-3900

Now through Friday, head to Pretend City for a weeklong interactive Kwanzaa celebration. Each day of the week will bring new activities along with the daily lighting of a candle on the Kinara. Monday, visitors can make their very own Kwanzaa Kinara while the rest of the week’s crafts include a placemat quilt, Kwanzaa corn, a necklace and a unity cup. The latter half of the week, Pretend City’s Sensational Story Time presents stories like “My First Kwanzaa,” which details the holiday’s traditions, as well as “Kevin’s Kwanzaa” and “The Sound of Kwanzaa.”

Tuesday, December 27
(Credit: The Muckenthaler Cultural Center)

(Credit: The Muckenthaler Cultural Center)

Florence Arnold Young Artist Exhibition
The Muckenthaler Cultural Center
1201 West Malvern Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92833
(714) 738-6595

This week marks the tail end of the current Young Artist Exhibition, which opened in early November but is coming to a close this Saturday. The exhibit is named for Florence Arnold, a late local artist who created the youth exhibitions at The Muck in the 1970s. As part of the program, high school students showcase their best works of art at the center, creating a forum that helps introduce and encourage students to consider starting a career in visual arts. In addition to the thrill of exhibiting their work, students will also receive awards and prizes during the show.

Wednesday, December 28
(Credit: Lissa Hahn)

(Credit: Lissa Hahn)

Hipcooks Dream of Sushi
Hipcooks Orange County
125 North Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 479-0855

The Dream of Sushi class at Hipcooks Orange County gives locals the chance to try their hand at one of the most exciting cuisines around: sushi rolls. Students will learn a variety of different techniques, including how to prepare sushi rice, the best knife techniques and the tricks to crafting gorgeous rolls. There will be plenty of options available as far as ingredients go—salmon, tuna, scallops, veggies and even roe. All ingredients are wheat free, dairy free and suitable for vegetarians. After creating Maki rolls, students will enjoy some mochi for dessert as well as green tea, sake or Japanese beer. The three-hour class is $70.

Thursday, December 29
(credit: Willrow Hood/shutterstock)

(credit: Willrow Hood/shutterstock)

Son of Skywalker: Imperial Uprising
Artists Republic
1175 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 988-0603

With the recent release of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” the epic space series is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. This group exhibition at Artists Republic Gallery in Laguna Beach accents that popularity, featuring artwork that showcases the infamous Star Wars villains and the Dark Side. Following their inaugural event last winter, the Imperial Uprising exhibit will present a different side of the series, with works from artists like Suzanne Walsh, Chris Larsen, Amanda Raynes, Blacky Vader, Johanna O’Donnell, Michael Ziobrowski and more on display. The exhibit will run through Saturday.

Friday, December 30
(Credit: Dan Harper)

(Credit: Dan Harper)

Big White Top
16720 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92603
(866) 999-8111

With space for 2,000 showgoers, visitors pack the Big White Top to catch a glimpse of the dazzling stunts and sets of Cavalia’s “Odysseo.” The show, which lasts for more than two hours, is one-of-a-kind, combining unique effects and interesting stage arts. The show itself is a journey that discusses the interconnectedness of horse and human, complete with moving clouds, a mystical forest and more than 70 live horses. A gorgeous display of equestrian arts, riders and acrobats are joined by dancers and musicians to fill the tent with a dreamlike world that lies just on the edge of reality.

Saturday, December 31
(Credit: Ways & Means)

(Credit: Ways & Means)

Celebrate New Year’s Eve!
New Year’s Eve Masquerade Bash
Ways & Means
21022 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 960-4300

Ring in the New Year in style at Pacific City’s Ways & Means this Saturday night. The seafood restaurant will celebrate the end of the year with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight and food specials throughout the night. Rather than an expensive pre-set menu, their entire regular menu will be available as well—including their popular dressed oysters and tasty cocktails. Come dressed up in your finest masquerade attire or purchase sparkling masks, tiaras and necklaces at the event. Before the night is through, prizes will be given out for the event’s best masks. While reservations aren’t required, they are highly recommended.

Sunday, January 1
(credit: Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina)

(credit: Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina)

Above & Beyond
Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort
1131 Back Bay Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(714) 624-0515

The first day of 2017 is the perfect time for a concert. As part of Resolution NYE 2017, Above & Beyond will perform at Newport Dunes’ seaside pavilion. The U.K. electronic band, who has charted in 20 different countries, recently released their second acoustic album—complete with the beats and production the group is known for. Also performing are Spencer Brown, Pendemic, Soltani and Jonny Slice. The extravaganza is the second of the two-day event, with a new year’s countdown celebration happening the night before. Arrive oceanside by 3 p.m.; the event will end at 8 p.m.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.